One Man and His Blog: February 2009 Archives

February 2009 Archives

February 28, 2009

links for 2009-02-28

February 27, 2009

links for 2009-02-27

February 26, 2009

links for 2009-02-26

February 25, 2009

Social Networks & Children's Brains

Thumbnail image for Mail: Social Media Harms Your Children
Ah, nothing like a rational, calm, provable headline to boost the public's trust in journalists. 

Spotted in Waitrose last night.

Noted: shallow, sensationalist reporting in a national newspaper, detailed analysis with reference to peer-reviewed papers on a blog. 

Spotting News on Twitter

Fascinating. Twitterfall, a web application which tracks rising trends on Twitter, on the big screens in the Telegraph's newsroom:

Thumbnail image for Twitterfall on The Telegraph's Screen

February 24, 2009

York Journalists in Lunchtime Stoppages

The other side of the NUJ debate is, of course, the fact that there are dramatic levels of job cuts happening in the industry. And, in some places, those are being fought.

NUJ members in York are conducting lunchtime stoppages to protest four job cuts at Newsquest York. The chapel has a blog, talking about the dispute

Messages of support can be texted to to their meeting on 07791 626238.

NUJ: Response from a Union Official

I have been given permission to publish this response from Jenny Lennox, assistant organiser at the NUJ. The e-mail was broadly agreeing with another member's post which stated that the member hadn't come across any journalist who don't believe that good journalism can happen online, and that publishers aren't investing enough. Her response was as follows:

I spend my days talking to journalists throughout the regional press, and they don't have a gripe with the web, just with their employers and their crappy approach to it. I haven't met a single "anti-web".

We have got the debate all wrong, because we are allowing people to tell us what the union and journalists think who quite clearly haven't got a clue. The debate is about properly resourced quality journalism vs money-grabbing bastards who think they can produce it in any format on the cheap.

This first appeared as an e-mail on the new media mailing list.

Comment: I think it's a shame that this is the only public response we've had from an NUJ official, because it clearly misses the point. This dispute has never been about the NUJ not understanding the web or even new media, it's about them not understanding (or engaging with) social media.

The NUJ, Social Media and Video Conversation

Laura Oliver of has started a video conversation about the NUJ & social media over on video conversation service Seesmic:

If you've got a webcam, you can join in.

The NUJ & Social Media: A Few Follow-ups

A few very quick response to the NUJ furore, as I'm back from holiday today, and a longer response will have to wait for me to clear my inbox at work.

First up, thank you to everyone who got involved in the comments in the last few posts - and I do mean everyone. Conversation and debate are at the heart of blogging, and this debate is certainly moving forwards - into the Guardian's blogs, as it turns out.

The discussion has also spread onto the NUJ New Media Mailing list. Salina Christmas has provided a rather nice visual guide or two to the discussion over on her blog.

And lastly, Glyn Moody, an ex-NUJ member, pinpoints far more neatly than I have managed the opportunity the NUJ has missed here.

More detailed comments to follow later. 

February 20, 2009

links for 2009-02-20

February 19, 2009

NUJ: "effing blogs"

One of the things I love about blogging, and digital journalism generally, is that you get a much clearer picture of who is reading your work, and how they get to your site.

For instance this was in my referrer logs in my analytics package:

Thumbnail image for effing blogs
So, the "/exchange/" and the ".EML" extension indicates that the person came from an e-mail on an Exchange server account, and that the subject line was "effing blogs".

Lets do a quick reverse DNS lookup on shall we?

Thumbnail image for reversedna.png
Ah, yes. The NUJ's e-mail system. Well, thanks folks. Nice to know that my union people associated with my union (self correcting in the interests of fairness), which I have been a member of for the last 15 years think that the journalistic field in which I work - blogging - is "effing blogs".

I wonder who LindaK is, and if she enjoyed the post?

February 18, 2009

Subbing in the Age of Live Stories

Karl's busy responding to comments on his post about subbing. But I think he saved the most important bit of his post for last:

One of the differences between the web and print media is that the web can be used for interactive, real-time experiences that have more in common with a live event such as a conference or a group discussion than with publishing.

So, as I frequently tell our journalists, when deciding how to behave, it is often useful to ask the question: "what would we do if this were really a live event, with the audience in the same room as the journalists?" The implications go far wider than simply whether or not to sub.

And that's the concept that's most often missed in discussions about subbing for the web. Much of the content that goes onto the web isn't a finished product, but a live object, that will be developed, commented on and linked to. And rethinking subbing for the web will have to take that into account. How do you add value as a sub, to something that continues to change after it's published?

NUJ: Still Not "Getting" Social Media

I have something of a love/hate relationship with the National Union of Journalists. Love, because I believe in the principle of unions, and because the NUJ has done good things for some of my former colleagues. Hate, because I think it's completely fumbling the transition to digital journalism.

Case in point: one of my colleagues, Martin Couzins of Travel Weekly, posted his criticisms of the NUJ's training over on his personal blog, ItsDevelopmental:

What will be even more tragic is if the NUJ fails to rise to the training challenge because it is too busy 'defending jobs'.

I would have expected a bit more creativity at a time like this (do unions do creativity?) and more focus on what members need to do to be employable. We know there will be more jobs lost across the industry but the union could and should be mapping out what a future in digital publishing will look like.
Now the good news is that the union responded. The bad news is how Chris Wheal, chair of the NUJ Professional Training Committee, did so:

Try to be a bit more constructive.

That's how he kicked off. Not "thanks for sharing your thoughts", not "please be more constructive". He was just, well, rude.

And further on, this:

Don't bother doing it on a blog; you can phone the training department and tell them (politely).

So, you know, don't bother having an open conversation about union issues. Don't bother engaging with them through the very social media that journalists need to learn about. No, come cap in hand (politely) to your union betters.

The union's reputation in this area is bad enough. Responses like this just make it worse. 

Waitrose CEO talks Credit Crunch

I rather like this short interview Farmers Weekly columnist and blogger Matthew Naylor did with Mark Price, CEO of Waitrose:

Quick, to the point and touches on the issues that both farmers and consumers care about.

Besides, I'm painfully middle-class and so am honour-bound to love Waitrose....

links for 2009-02-18

  • Janine Gibson, editor of the Guardian’s website, says this is not true of the Guardian: “The majority of our blogs are edited and subbed before publication. I can only think of a small handful of journalists who blog direct to the web without being either desked or subbed first. We don’t publish news stories undesked and although our journalists can publish pictures direct to blogs, they rarely do.”
  • launched yesterday, a site allowing property owners to create their own web page to sell their house. The page is hosted and run through the site's search engine—as well as other property classifieds sites—for £5.95 per month. And unlike most property sites, there's no commission.

February 17, 2009

links for 2009-02-17

February 13, 2009

Greenslade: The Sub-Editor is Redundant

Roy Greenslade, writing on his Guardian blog, paints a far harsher picture of the future of the sub-editor than Karl did in his post:

So I stand by what I said yesterday that we should accept that the current level of subbing numbers could be drastically reduced. In some cases, a layer of the editorial process can be eliminated altogether.
Meanwhile, subbing can also be outsourced in order for hard-pressed newspapers groups to reduce their overheads. The financial facts speak for themselves: hardly any serious national newspaper makes money.
It is therefore sensible for publishers to consider whether to cut costs by having the task done by a centralised collective of skilled journalists elsewhere, be it in Australia or India. And it wouldn't surprise me in the least if Britain's own Press Association, which already produces thousands upon thousands of ready-to-publish pages every week were to take up that challenge here.

Stephen Fry on the Web, Culture & Publishing

On my commute into the office this morning I listened to the Meet the Author: Stephen Fry podcast from Apple. I highly recommend it. Fry is as entertaining a raconteur as ever, and his meandering history of computers and the internet is well worth listening to.

However, the meaty stuff kicks off at around 43 minutes in, as he starts talking about the reaction of journalists to Twitter and moves onto the relationship between the web and our culture. Mach to agree with, and much to provoke thought.

You can grab it from iTunes.

February 11, 2009

What Does a Web-Centric Production Desk Look Like?

Karl SchneiderShock of the day: my boss, Mr Karl Schneider, editorial development director here at RBI, has actually posted to his blog!*

He's put up a post on the role of the production journalist as we move into a web-centric publishing model, and it's quite thought-provoking.

In all honesty, it's probably the part of the existing journalism infrastructure I've done the least thinking about, and so I'm enjoying seeing a debate opening up. I see one of the Engine Room bloggers has already joined in....

* I am being a touch unfair here - he has a reasonably active internal blog. :-)

Making A Point, My Way

You can always tell when I've been doing training:

Training Diagram
Yes, there's an inexplicable diagram on a flip chart. Visual thinker, moi?

February 7, 2009

links for 2009-02-07

February 6, 2009

links for 2009-02-06

February 5, 2009

What Happens to Laid Off Journalists?

Roy Greenslade reports on some chilling research into the employment fate of redundant newspaper journalists in the US:

An American Journalism Review article asks: Is there life after newspapers? To that end, it conducted a survey of journalists on US papers who left their jobs between 1999 and 2007. And here's the killer fact: only 6% have since found other newspaper work.

"The rest are doing everything from public relations to teaching to driving a bus and clerking in a liquor store," says the writer, Robert Hodierne. And they are earning less.

Something to think about...

February 4, 2009

Product Junkie: The Cool Side of Hospitality

Chocolate Fashion
When I mentioned to a colleague that I was helping Caterer & Hotelkeeper (a magazine I was fervently competing with 12 years ago) set up a blog around hospitality products, they rolled their eyes and stifled a yawn.

Well, it launched last week, and I checked in on it to see how it was getting along. And found myself a little surprised. Where were the products for chopping things and blending things? Where were the pots, pans and utensils? Where, not to put too fine a point on it, was the stainless steel?

Nowhere to be found. Instead I found nothing but sauce on Product Junkie, and I'm not talking about the sort you get drizzled over your tuna steak, here. Oh, no. 

Instead we have, for example, a chocolate-themed fashion show (see right). And news that hospitality staff are getting thinner

Or how about sex and hospitality?

I think I'm going to have a little lie down now...

links for 2009-02-04

February 3, 2009

The Big Thaw hits London

The Big Thaw
Here, as close as possible, is the same shot I took on Sunday night, showing the view from where my car is parked. The big melt is starting to make the street passable again, and the actual hill down to the main road (just out of shot) is pretty clear.

Looks like I'll be gracing the office with my presence tomorrow...

The Print Atheist Bus

Print Atheist Bus
Make your own here

February 2, 2009

London Snow on Video

Snowy London from Adam Tinworth on Vimeo.

A quick bit of film of London in the snow - and a test of iMovie '09

Obligatory Snowy Garden Picture

My garden in the snow
Note the fox paw-prints in the top left corner...

London Snow & Twittering News

Working From Home
So, snow has hit London and the city has ground to a halt. There's no easy way for me to get my car off the snowy hill it's parked on, and the chances of both the trains I need to get to Sutton being running are next to nothing. I'm working from home. 

But the interesting thing I've noted over the last 18 hours or so is that I've got the vast majority of my news about the snow from Twitter. As Alan noted, it's much like having dozens of reporters all over London (and further afield) reporting in briefly on conditions. I've yet to feel the need to turn to any mainstream news sites for information - because everything I needed to know was pushed to me. It's really cool, but it does make you rather nervous about the future of our industry...

UPDATE: One of the Computer Weekly staff videos his commute and the Farmers Weekly team are compiling a gallery of snow pics

Snow Joke

Snow in Lewisham
Crawling across London at between 10mph and 15mph is less fun than you think. And that small skid in Deptford was quite hair-raising.

London, it's fair to say, is not equipped for snow...


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About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries from February 2009 listed from newest to oldest.

January 2009 is the previous archive.

March 2009 is the next archive.

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